EEOC Issues Updated Enforcement Guidance on National Origin Discrimination
Effective November 18, 2016, the EEOC issued its updated enforcement guidance on national origin discrimination to replace its 2002 compliance manual.
The Guidance sets forth the Commission’s interpretation of the law of national origin discrimination, how national origin discrimination can intersect with other categories of discrimination, examples of actions it considers discriminatory, and how federal anti-discrimination laws and regulations apply to the workplace. Of note, the Commission analyzed how courts have interpreted and applied Title VII to specific facts. Where the EEOC’s interpretation of the law differs in some respect to that of a reviewing court, this guidance sets forth the EEOC’s considered position and explains its analysis.
National origin discrimination is discrimination because an individual (or his or her ancestors) is from a certain place or has the physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics of a particular national origin group. Title VII prohibits employer actions that have the purpose or effect of discriminating against persons because of their real or perceived national origin.
The Commission also issued two resource documents to accompany the guidance: a question-and-answer publication on the guidance document and a small business fact sheet that highlights the major points in the guidance in plain language.
All businesses should review these documents to insure that they are in compliance with the EEOC guidelines in order to avoid potential workplace issues and litigation.